Nuggets escape with win over Rockets as Trail Blazers smother short-handed Lakers
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Los Angeles - Nikola Jokic tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds and made a clutch game-saving block at the buzzer as the Denver Nuggets survived a late scare to edge the slumping Houston Rockets 95-94 on Saturday.
Will Barton posted 15 points and six assists, and Aaron Gordon nailed consecutive three-pointers in the final two minutes for the Nuggets, who won their second straight NBA contest.
Gordon scored six unanswered points before Jokic iced the win with a block of a Jae'Sean Tate layup as the buzzer sounded. Earlier, Daniel Theis hit a three-pointer with 2:46 remaining to make it 94-89 for Houston.
After the block, the Nuggets celebrated with Jokic on the court.
"I didn't jump, I went up, I didn't even block it," he said. "I think I actually hit it when I was jumping. Like a poke -- I poked the ball."
Tate's initial reaction was that the officials should have called a foul on Jokic.
"I thought I got fouled, honestly," he said. "I could have stayed corner; I should have stayed corner."
Denver won despite shooting a dismal 22.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Theis returned after missing two games with a sore right toe for the Rockets, which has lost seven in a row. Christian Wood and Eric Gordon scored 12 points each.
The Rockets shot 52.6 percent in the first quarter to lead 27-26, and then expanded its lead to 41-33 with just under five minutes left in the half.
In Miami, Tyler Herro had 29 points and Jimmy Butler 27 as the host Heat used a balanced offence to win for the sixth time in their last seven by beating the Utah Jazz 118-115.
Kyle Lowry had a triple-double, including 20 points, for the Heat, who shot 60 percent from the floor overall.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 37 points for the Jazz, who had a three-game winning streak stopped.
Miami took the lead for good late in the third quarter after Mitchell had tied it 74-74 with a basket with 2:40 to go.
Elsewhere, Luka Doncic made the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Dallas Mavericks to a 107-104 win over the Boston Celtics.
Doncic, who scored a game-high 33 points, ran the length of the court before putting up a fadeaway shot in triple coverage to seal the victory.
Damian Lillard scored 25 points and the Trail Blazers smothered the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 105-90 in Portland.
The Lakers were missing LeBron James, who was out with an abdominal strain, and lost Anthony Davis in the first quarter with a stomach illness.
That meant they had to rely on their ageing reserves such as Carmelo Anthony, who scored 12 points off the bench.